Tips for Saving Money for You and Your Child
By: Nastaha B.
Learning to save money for your financial future can be a challenge for children, teens and adults alike. Often times, many people will allow their money to control the way they live, when it should be the other way around. Whether you’re learning about money for the first time, preparing for a huge life event or just looking to create financial stability in your life, saving money is about taking that first step. The concept of successful money management may seem like an impossible task at the start, especially for those with limited incomes. However, by studying the proper knowledge and taking small everyday steps to change the way you spend money, everyone from age 9 to 90 can learn to have financial triumph within their lives.
Money Saving Tips for Adults Although adults may have a better understanding of money than teens or children, there are a number of simple tips that can be used to help improve your financial situation. Below, you will find 15 steps that can be taken to increase your savings and put you on the right track towards financial freedom.
- Use a bank that respects you. Banks are available as a safe haven for holding your money. However, you shouldn’t be spending money on unnecessary maintenance fees or charges. Instead, your money in your checking or savings account should be accruing interest. If your current bank is charging you fees and you aren’t making money through interest in the process, make the switch to a new bank institution that respects your desire to improve your financial situation.
- Become a pro at the thirty day rule. You may be asking yourself, “What is the thirty-day rule?” Whenever you find yourself wanting to make an unnecessary purchase, put the item back, wait thirty days and then revisit whether or not you still want the item. After time has passed, quite often you’ll realize that the urge to purchase the item no longer exists and you’ve just saved yourself quite a bit of money!
- Find an effective coupon strategy and use it. Coupons can be a wonderful cost effective way to save some money. Many times, customers can use free store reward programs, double or triple coupons, or multiple coupons for one transaction (this depends on the particular store’s policy). By utilizing the coupons you find in newspapers, online or in stores customers could find themselves paying extremely small amounts for products, or even getting foods or items for free. Consumers can also save a great deal of money by purchasing generic products, as opposed to the name brand items they might usually get.
- Personally make gifts instead of buying them. Making personal gifts for occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or weddings can get very expensive very quickly. Instead of buying a gift, looking into crafting something at home. Whether you make baked goods, create a scrapbook or knit a cute baby outfit, a homemade gift will not only be cheaper but will also provide a unique and personal touch that makes the process of gift giving a special event.
- Put your credit cards out of sight. Rather than carrying your credit cards in your wallet, it’s a good idea to lock them up in a safe and hide them away. By not having the easy access of a card in your wallet, the temptation to use it will be greatly reduced. A good rule of thumb to follow is until you gain the willpower to say no to using a credit card, don’t carry one. In the long run, you might start to notice a substantial savings gain in your finances.
- Be energy efficient. Sustainable living is a wonderful way to start saving more money daily. Before leaving a room, be sure to turn off all the lights. Taking an extra minute to turn the lights off before a two hour night out results in the equivalent of earning roughly $50 an hour. The key to success is finding ways to use less energy whenever possible. Using LED light bulbs, programmable thermostats and the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) can help reduce the cost of monthly bills and allow you to save that extra money instead.
- Let go of expensive habits. In today’s economy, those who partake in smoking, drugs or alcohol related activities find themselves paying large amounts of money to sustain their habits. Working hard to give up these habits can help money to stay in your pocket rather than flowing out rapidly with no return.
- Shop for used products. Most likely there will always come a time when a member of the house will need something new. In the game of life, these things are inevitable. Instead of going straight out to buy something new, consider shopping used. Making thrift stores and used shops a part of your shopping routine will help you to find the necessary items for a much lower cost, thus saving you money.
- Conquer the ten second rule. The basic concept for the ten second rule is fairly simple. Whenever you pick up an item online or in the store, pause for ten seconds and ask yourself why you’re purchasing it and whether or not this item is something you need. If the ten seconds pass and you haven’t come up with a good answer, put it back. Reducing the amount of impulse buying people engage in can be a great way to build up the amount of money in their savings.
- Use public transportation when possible. If the option is available, take advantage of the city’s transit system to work or play events, as opposed to taking your car. This eliminates the need for gas or parking money and when you buy yearly passes, using them for a few months will pay for themselves ultimately putting more money in your pocket. If transit is not available, try to bunk up with a coworker and carpool. Sharing gas costs between a few different people will be cheaper than each individual taking their own car, and hey, you may save on overall wear and tear of your vehicle too!
- Make a plan for your debt. Debt is a large problem in our society today, and everyone needs a little help. One of the best steps you can take towards financial stability is making a plan for getting out of debt. Plot out the debts you currently have and in what order you’re going to pay them off. Creating a visual reminder of debt you have, such as a progress bar can also help keep you on track and bring the plan you’ve set into action. By monitoring overall debts and staying on top of them, the money in your savings will continue to grow.
- Stay positive and never give up. Everybody makes mistakes when it comes to money. The best step you can take is to look ahead towards the future instead of dwelling on the mistakes. Remember the choices that are affecting you now and actively work to never make those mistakes again. The most important thing to remember, no matter your situation; never give up! Whether you’re in debt, working at a low paying job or just struggling to stay afloat, staying positive about your future will eventually bring the savings you desire.
Money Saving Tips for Kids
Kids are exceptionally smart people, and as parents, we must realize that it’s never too early to teach children about the responsibilities of money. As a matter of fact, there are endless opportunities for parents to teach children how to properly spend and save money. Taking advantage of these opportunities will begin to instill in your child confident financial values and a positive attitude towards money. One of the first ways to begin teaching your children about money is through the awarding of an allowance. Encourage your children to find different ways to earn their money throughout the week, such as doing chores or picking up their rooms. The importance with this exercise is to share with kids that money doesn’t grow on trees and is earned only through hard work and dedication. Taking your kids along on shopping trips is another great way to introduce them to the concept of money. Through the act of clipping coupons and then using these savings at the store, children will learn the importance of needs vs. wants, and can also understand how to begin saving through the example of buying sale items. In addition, it’s very important to celebrate savings with your children. Teach kids about keeping their money in a safe place such as a piggy bank, wallet or plastic jar and have them tape a picture of what they are saving for. Providing them with visual incentives such as charts or pictures will continue to reinforce the reasons they are saving their money. As even more incentive, parents can consider matching their child’s money once the goals have been reached. Life offers parents a number of opportunities to talk to their children about the importance of money. Below, you will find a few tips to help start the process towards teaching your children about money management.
Preschool and Kindergarten Years
- Introduce a piggy bank. Children as young as two can be taught to start saving money through the introduction of a piggy bank. By teaching your children to put the coins they find into a bank, they will begin to get an idea for what coins look like. Although they may not understand the concept of savings at this point, the action of saving will be a great introduction.
- Talk about the different types of money. Starting with the basics of money identification is a great place to begin the teaching process for younger children. Sit your kids down and show them the difference between nickels, pennies, dimes, quarters and dollar bills. Depending on the age, parents can also begin to explain how each coin has a different value, thus giving kids a great head start towards developing their savings.
- Explain that items are not free. Many times while shopping, children will take items from the shelves and carry them around. This is a wonderful opportunity to explain to kids that products aren’t free and must be paid for. Introducing the idea of using money to pay for an object will help give them a better understanding of how to correctly use their finances.
- Create financial goals. At this age, children are beginning to understand the concept of money a bit more and they may start wanting big ticket items. Instead of just giving in and buying those video games or designer clothes, have them write down their financial goals on a chart or piece of paper. Using these experiences to create goals will shift the focus from wanting and will begin to teach kids about the importance of saving to get the things they want.
- Present the concept of compound interest. A big step in teaching your children about money involves getting them excited over how fast savings can grow. Creating a growth chart explaining what compound interest means, will visually show them how much money can be accrued over time when funds are saved.
- Establish lesson to make money. Introducing your children to ways they can make money is a fantastic tool to teach them about the organization and importance of money. Building a lemonade stand or throwing a bake sale are examples of activities children can do right from home to start making and saving money. This also is a great way to teach children about entrepreneurship for the future!
- Introduce the concept of a job. Once the teenage years are reached, children begin to start using money without the supervision of their parents. This means that any money saved can disappear with one purchase. To encourage saving, talk to your kids about finding a job. Children can partake in a number of activities such as chores, mowing lawns, paper routes or even part-time jobs after school to start making their own money. Once kids understand the concept of working hard to earn their money, they might be more conscious about saving what they earn.
- Use a savings account. When teenagers begin to make their own money, whether through a job or allowance, a great way to continue money education is to take them to the bank to open their own savings account. Explain to your kids how the money they earn can be put into an account to develop interest. If children do open an account, it’s quite possible they will get a checkbook or debit/credit card. Instill in your children the responsibility of using these items correctly so that when faced with having to make a monetary decision, they will know how to react.
- Rewards are helpful. While kids are still living in the house, consider rewarding their good savings habits with incentives. If your children set a savings goal and successfully reach it, matching the amount they’ve saved will be a driving force for them to continue. Kids are more likely to keep saving and doing well if they know there might be a reward for their efforts.
- Set a good example. Children learn about life from watching their parents, so it’s important to set a good example especially when it comes to money management. If you expect your children to respect and understand the value of money when preparing for a financial future, as a parent you must practice what you preach. Even if money is not an issue, teach your children how to handle money responsibly. It’s important to send the message that buying the most expensive item at the store is not always the best, and when money is handled correctly parents and children will have a positive outlook on the concept of saving.
- Prepare for the future. Once children reach high school, the thought of pursuing education at college becomes a reality. College can be an extremely expensive step in a young adult’s life, and parents should take the opportunity to prepare their kids for this huge life event. Parents can prepare their kids for going to college by explaining ways to manage their money. These can include budgeting, getting a job, living with roommates and using a credit card responsibly. Encourage them to take a financial planning class to better understand using their money and familiarize them with terms like investing and the stock market. Providing children with as much information before going off on their own will create a solid understanding of money management.